Your electrical service panel uses the electricity produced by your solar system to power your home. If your home needs more power than your solar system provides, your local utility will supply the balance. And, if your system generates more solar energy than your home consumes, the surplus electricity travels through the meter and into the local power grid.
Net Metering is the term used when your system generates more solar energy than your home consumes. Your electric meter will “spin backward” and your electric bill will be credited for the surplus electricity you’ve generated. Your local utility will calculate these net charges, and bill you for the difference.
Time-of-Use Rate Plan
Time-of-use (TOU) plans vary by utility, but the basics are the same: under a TOU plan, a unit of electricity is priced depending on when it is purchased. Typically, the rates are higher in the afternoon than in the evening or morning. Similarly, rates are higher in summer than in winter. This rate structure benefits homes with solar systems because your system will likely produce the most electricity during the times when rates are highest.
As you know, your solar system delivers excess electricity to the grid if you do not consume all the electricity your system produces. While TOU metering and rates are available to many solar customers, not all utilities offer a TOU option. Check with your local utility provider for TOU availability. In some cases, the savings from your solar system will increase if you switch to a TOU rate plan.